Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Disneyland Trip June 2016

Obviously, the very best thing to do after running a marathon is spend a day at Disneyland!! This wasn't the plan when I first registered for the race, but I really didn't want to miss the Disneyland 60 Celebration, so we tacked on a day at the end of my long weekend in the middle of bar prep.

Planning

Planning for a day trip to Disneyland isn't quite the same as planning a vacation at Walt Disney World. For WDW, there's hotels and flights to consider, meals, usually a race or two, on top of the parks. The options are endless: meal plan or no? On property or off property? What Fastpasses should we book? What color mAgicBand should I get? What adorable new t shirt should I order?

With Disneyland, the entire experience is usually much more chill. There is less booking ahead, fewer parks, fewer restaurants to pick from, and no pre-booking fastpasses. In preparation, all I did was pick the day we were going, make breakfast reservations about a month out, and then make a short list of the must-dos: Indiana Jones ride, eat everything, Tangled stage show. Done.

Hotel

In order to maximize the time we would have in the park, and also to give Lilly a chance to take a nap, we decided to get a hotel room near the park. The on property hotels were pretty much sold out, so at the last minute I booked a night at the Hotel Menage, which was recently bought by Starwood. We drove up Sunday night and checked in around 6:30. There is self-parking, which is easy enough, plus a really nice pool area. The room was big, and included a king size bed and a sitting area with a couch that I think folded out. I requested a crib in my reservation, and asked about it again at check in, and one was brought to our room within about ten minutes of getting there.

My best friend came down for dinner, and we sat down at the restaurant in the lobby, but since Lilly was being cranky, after ordering we just had the food sent up to our room. There's also a tiki bar out at the pool, but it was closing by the time we went down for dinner. Our room overlooked the pool, so it was a little protected from the noise of the I-5 freeway and Harbor Rd, and we could see the Disneyland fireworks from our window at 9:30! I wasn't planning on seeing any fireworks because I didn't want to stay late with Lilly and I thought she would't like the noise, so this was a nice bonus.

The next day, it was about a twelve minute walk down Harbor to enter the parks plaza on the side opposite Downtown Disney. It might be faster if it wasn't the morning after a marathon. When we left in the late morning to pack up and checkout (we ended up getting a 1pm checkout), the walk did seem farther than when we were fresh, but again, if we hadn't just finished 26.2 miles, I would say this hotel is a great, cheap option if you aren't looking for the immersive Disney experience.

Breakfast

For breakfast, I made the first available reservation at the Surf's Up! breakfast at PCH Grill at Paradise Pier Hotel. We were definitely late because we walked to the Disneyland Hotel instead first, but they didn't seem to get busy until a little bit later, around 8:30 or so.
It was a buffet breakfast, and even though I did eat a good amount, I still didn't try everything. There was an omelette bar, breakfast pizza, breakfast nachos, french toast, mickey waffles, fruit, and a ton more.

Disneyland

We had bought out tickets early, so just had to fight though the security lines and then entrance lines to get into the park, around 9am.

Number one item on my list: the Indiana Jones ride. I have been to Disneyland I think four times before, but have NEVER gone on this ride, because it was broken EVERY SINGLE TIME. While K and Lilly grabbed Star Tours fast passes, I got in the single rider line, and literally skipped through the exit towards the front of the line. Man, when you're waiting in line and snaking your way through all the twists and turns, it doesn't seem like a long wait, but it's a long line!
And the ride was totally worth the wait! So much fun! Definitely top of my list for favorite Disney ride!

Next up, we wandered around for a while as K traded pins, and got some Dole Whip for second breakfast. We also took some time to check out the Baby Care Center, which is at the end of Main Street. It's very nice, with a large play area, a curtained off breastfeeding area, kitchen, and large area to change diapers and help little ones use a tiny toilet.

Since the plan was to eat as much as possible, we wandered over to the French Quarter for some beignets and a mint julep. The line for the Pirates line was HUGE! Good thing I don't really are about that. We did hop up to the railway station to look at the train cars, and learned that the Lilly Belle was at the Main Street Station. After skipping our Star Tours fast passes, we headed towards the entrance to head back and take a nap.

BUT FIRST, we had to stop to check out the Lilly Belle! The conductor who was hanging out said it was being sent for preservation the next weekend, so this was the last time it would be out all year. Even if we didn't get to ride it in, at least it was nice to see it.

After a nap and packing out of our room, we headed back to Disneyland for the afternoon Tangled show at the theater in Fantasyland. While waiting in line, I got a Matterhorn Macaroon from Jolly Holiday Bakery. At this point I think I realized I had mostly been eating sugar all day, but it was time for some Rapunzel!

The stage show was hilarious! We hung around after because sometimes the characters come out after for photos, and they did! Flynn Rider isn't out everyday at Disney World, so I haven't seen him there, but he was all over the place in California! Woot!

California Adventure

By 4:30, I was starting to melt, I was hungry, and I just wanted to go to California Adventure, because K HAS NEVER BEEN THERE. This alone was half the reason we were visiting, and besides, he wanted a turkey leg. I originally wanted to sit down at the Cove Bar for some lobster nachos and a few glasses of wine, but there was line (maybe ten minutes) and K hates lines. We ended up just walking around Paradise Pier, getting a turkey leg and corn on the cob, and then heading back out. So much for experiencing CA. Next trip....

At the very end we slowly made our way over to the Disneyland Hotel for drinks at Tiki Sam's. We didn't get to sit inside, because, stroller, but did get some ahi tuna and fun drinks out on the poch. I'm sure I'll be seeing this dumb cup around a lot (K got the shrunken zombie head, which came in a shrunken zombie head).
We made the poor choice of taking the monorail back towards the park instead of walking. It would have been faster to walk. Unless you're in line right when the park opens and plan on sprinting to Star Tours, don't use the monorail as a primary source of transportation. Plus you have to fold up the stroller. Lilly was an absolute doll all day though, and took a few good naps in her stroller while we walked around. She really loves looking at people and listening to the music everywhere, so I think she had a pretty good time! I think her favorite part of the day was breakfast, though. All those characters! Stitch is still her favorite though, for sure:
I'm really glad I had the chance to see Disneyland in all its diamond anniversary glory. Even if I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day, I'm pretty sure it was the best day ever! 

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